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Review - Qld Ballet's The Nutcracker: a show that left everyone smiling

Tonia Looker as Clara. Photo by David Kelly.

The Nutcracker 2019

By ETA Hoffman and Pyotr I Tchaikovsky

Choreographed by Ben Stevenson

Presented by Queensland Ballet

Lyric Theatre, QPAC South Bank,


Season runs until December 21. Bookings: or 136 246

In the spirit of Christmas tradition, it would be remiss to not include three things, time with family, time for quiet reflection on the passing year and of course, The Nutcracker.

Queensland Ballet (QB) and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO) have done it again with yet another sumptuous feast for the senses.

Following the tale written by ETA Hoffmann with style and grace, Brisbane has been treated once more with a delightful way to spread the Christmas cheer. Each and every one of QB’s principal, solo and company artists danced with beauty and finesse. The graceful lines imbued by moments of stillness and energetic movement alike reflected the joy that is performing the timeless tale of Clara Stahlbaum.

Clara, performed by Tonia Looker was the embodiment of fresh innocence and wonder, taking the audience with her on a splendid journey to a dream within a dream. Other soloists of note were Georgia Swan as the Sugar Plum Fairy, whose delicious solo performance and pas de deux with the Prince, Patricio Revé, brought thunderous applause and murmurs of delight from the captive audience.

Most of the show entranced the eye and ear with beauty and a truly classic instrumental score. However, there were also elements of comedy in Fritz Stahlbaum’s (Suguru Otsuka) constant bullying of Clara and the other children, the antics of the grandfather and grandmother, (Jack Lister, Laura Tosar) and Mother Ginger (John Paul Lowe) – whose enormous form wrought much laughter from the audience.

The Queensland Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Nigel Gaynor also performed with commendable skill – the music filled the Lyric with sonorous praise to Tchaikovsky’s wonderful score.

The energy produced by this amount of talent was by no means little and provided the audience with a show that left everyone smiling at the concluding company bow.

So if you’re looking for something to start the Christmas season off with a bang, The Nutcracker is a sure cracker of a ballet.

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